Looking for an Accessible Home? These Are the Best Features to Put on Your List
Home design trends come and go, but universal design is one trend that we think is here to stay. More than providing accessibility to just some people, the idea behind universal design is that a home should be accessible to everyone, whether someone was born with vision impairment or you’re a senior who wants to age in place. More homes now have these features, but if you buy a home that needs to be modified for accessibility, you can be confident that any projects you do will be good for your home’s resale value (Flagstaff home sales have averaged $443,000).
The tricky part is knowing which home features matter most for accessibility. This list isn’t comprehensive, but it’s a good general guide for starting your search.
The type of flooring in a home can make all the difference in both accessibility and safety. For wheelchair users or anyone with limited mobility, carpet is the least accessible material. What you want most is a floor that’s durable, easy to navigate, and that minimizes the risk of falls. Wood flooring is ideal because it meets those needs, plus it’s easy to clean and maintain. Wood floors are in high demand by most buyers, which means that replacing other flooring materials with wood can also boost your home’s value.
If you find a home that fits your needs but doesn’t have the best flooring, be sure to include room in your budget for the cost of installing new floors. This cost can vary depending on several factors, such as whether the old flooring needs to be removed or if the subfloor needs repairs. It will also cost extra if your furniture needs to be moved, so it’s best to have this project done before you move in. Of course, there are also material and labor costs to consider.
Entryways and Doors
Anyone who uses a wheelchair or has limited mobility should also think about a home’s entryway. If you need a ramp, consider your options for adding one (usually costs $1,000 – $2,800), such as building a wooden ramp or purchasing a modular one. You also want to look for a wide doorway or the possibility of modifying the home’s entry to allow for a wider door. Be sure to keep an open mind here and ask your real estate agent for their advice because there may be options you wouldn’t have thought of. For example, maybe the front entry isn’t fully accessible, but the back of the home may have more room to install double doors.
According to the Huffington Post, good lighting is one of the top safety features for aging in place. First, look for a home that has lots of windows so you can take full advantage of natural light. You need lots of artificial lighting throughout the home too, so look for features like recessed lights. Remember that some types of lights can also be installed fairly easily, such as task lights under kitchen cabinets and motion lights outside.
Kitchen and Bathrooms
All of these features are good to have throughout your home, but it’s especially important to concentrate on accessibility in the kitchen and bathrooms. You want to make sure you can access countertops and sinks, so PBS recommends looking for varied height counters and spaces left underneath counters that are wheelchair accessible. If you’re looking at a home that doesn’t have these features, you may want to consider making necessary modifications.
The good news is that universal design is a trend that’s on the rise. What this means for buyers is that you have more options than ever for finding the perfect home that’s also accessible. And you can feel good about knowing that any modifications you do make will only add to your home’s value, which is even better news when the time comes that you’re ready to sell. Before starting your home search, be sure to consult with a dedicated and knowledgeable real estate agent in the area like Trina Painter who can walk you through the home-buying process.
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